US concerned about Bahraini protest ban

The United States expressed concern Wednesday over a move by Bahrain to ban opposition meetings and protests and called on the government to allow freedom of assembly, dpa reported.

“Freedoms of assembly, association and expression are universal human rights. We urge the government of Bahrain to uphold its international commitments and ensure that its citizens are able to assemble peacefully and to express their views without fear of arrest or detention,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

He called on the Bahraini government to work with protest leaders to find a way to allow demonstrations and called on protesters to avoid violence.

“The decision to curb these rights is contrary to Bahrain’s professed commitment to reform and will not help advance the national reconciliation nor build trust among all parties,” he said.

The blanket prohibition issued Tuesday came two days after a speaker at a banned opposition rally by Shiite groups called for “real democracy” in Bahrain, which is ruled by the Sunni Al Khalifa monarchy.

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